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All News Updates & Public Comment => Other (non-export) News => : Export News Tasmania December 19, 2011, 01:42:29 PM

: Complaint against RSPCA chief dropped only on jurisdictional grounds
: Export News Tasmania December 19, 2011, 01:42:29 PM
A COURT has dismissed a complaint against the head of the RSPCA over allegations of aggravated cruelty to a horse.

RSPCA president Dr Peter Wright was accused of acts of cruelty and aggravated cruelty on a horse while performing veterinary dental work at Goulburn, NSW, in July.

The allegations were made by Gary Young, who appeared in court and asked that the matter be adjourned to a later date.

But the court heard neither the RSPCA nor police would bring charges against Dr Wright over the complaint.

The matter would then require permission from NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson to proceed.

Mr Young told Downing Centre Local Court he had written to the minister but she had not responded by today's court appearance.

Mr Wright did not appear in court but was represented by counsel.

Magistrate Dennis Burdett dismissed the matter based on a lack of jurisdiction.

In an ealier statement Ms Hodgkinson said the charges against Dr Wright were brought about by a private individual.

"The offences allege that Mr Wright performed veterinary dental work on a horse at Goulburn on about 22 July 2011 and in so doing committed acts of cruelty and aggravated cruelty upon the animal," Ms Hodginkson said.

She said the complainant had contacted her department asking consent to bring the proceedings as a private individual.

However, consent was denied and he was advised to go in the first instance to either the RSPCA, the Animal Welfare League or NSW police.

"There does not seem to me to be any reason why it would be inappropriate for (the complainant) to refer his concerns to one or both of NSW animal welfare league and/or the NSW police," Ms Hodgkinson said.

Dr Wright was absent from a media announcement that the NSW government was contributing $7.5 million towards refurbishing the organisation's Yagoona animal shelter, in Sydney's southwest.

Media were informed he was absent because of a family illness before NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell fielded questions about his court appearance.

"The rules apply to everybody, whether you're associated with an organisation or you're a member of the public," Mr O'Farrell said when asked about the matter.

"There's no favouritism. The laws apply equally and the courts get to determine whether or not charges are proven."

Asked whether Dr Wright would be standing down from his position, RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman responded: "That's a matter for the courts".

: Re: Cimplaint against RSPCA chief dropped only on jurisdictional grounds
: Export News Tasmania December 19, 2011, 01:43:41 PM
Can the RSPCA please advise who paid for Wright's counsel? Also, whether or not he stands down is not a matter for the courts, it is a matter for the RSPCA NSW Board.